First-year Florida A&M students will need to know more than just their class schedules as this school year begins because the presidential elections are right around the corner. FAMU is taking steps to ensure that every student, especially freshmen, will have the opportunity to register to vote.
“I was registered to vote during my orientation, which was a few weeks prior to me coming to school,” said Precious Brown, a first-year nursing student from Fort Myers, Fla. “This is very important to me, simply because it will be my first time voting and I may actually participate in other elections throughout the year.”
Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office Ion Sancho and select panel members held a voter registration event in Lee Hall on Friday. To add, FAMU student leadership has been stationed at various events this semester to register every student.
“Although we do have our annual campus elections, it is very important to us to get our students involved with the national elections,” said Jalisa Brown, FAMU Electoral Commissioner. “Surprisingly, a majority of the freshmen are already registered to vote, it is just a matter of changing their address.”
Reports from Ion Sancho show that voter participation is 20 percent higher in Leon County than any other county in Florida due to the college population. In 2008, northern states’ college participation rates were in the upper thirties and forties. However, Leon County’s rates were up more than 50 percent.
“We recognize that our students are citizens, too, so they are treated as such,” said Sancho. “We support all of our voters.”
Those students who have not yet registered to vote have until Oct. 9, and out-of-state students need not worry. It’s only required that one must live in the state for 29 days in order to register.
Students will only need to present their school IDs to vote, contrary to what other state laws have stated.
Marquasha Keaton, a first-year pre-physical therapy student from Tallahassee, was impressed by the school’s emphasis on voter registration.
“I was registered on campus within days of my arrival,” Keaton said. “I remember doing the mock elections as a child and how excited we were to voice our opinion. I’m even more excited to know that my vote will actually count.”